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Utilising a Virtual Assistant

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Working with a Virtual Assistant can be a very rewarding experience both financially and professionally. A Virtual Assistant can help you organize your business and your life, while also opening up excellent time-leveraging and time-management benefits that would otherwise have not been possible. Having said that, if you are engaging a Virtual Assistant for the first time, you need to be aware of what it takes to do this successfully.

 

Firstly, you need to remember that many of the normal staffing rules still apply. For example, the basic rules of human motivation still exist in the virtual world. You Virtual Assistant needs to be trained, managed and monitored just as if they were in your office with you. A virtual Assistant is not a piece of software. It is not something that you simply purchase, pay your monthly fee and hope that it all works out. Your Virtual Assistant needs to be praised when they do excellent work, and reprimanded when their work falls below a predetermined standard.

 

Here are our top 5 tips to assist you in the set-up of the business relationship with your Virtual Assistant:

 

1. Create a job description

2. Develop a training manual

o Ideally this manual will contain text, video training files and links to online resources such as a knowledge base

3. Train your Virtual Assistant

o This does not mean conduct a 2 hour lecture. This means;

o Show your Virtual Assistant how to do the allocated tasks

o Watch them do the tasks in front of you (via online meeting)

o Watch your Virtual Assistant complete tasks until they are doing it the way it should be done

4. Develop Key Performance e Indicators to quantify what doing a “good job” actually means

5. Sign up to CRM or work-flow software that automates your Virtual Assistants role. Set up recurring tasks and recurring meetings

o One of the main reasons for utilizing a virtual assistant is to leverage your time. With this in mind, you do not want to be micromanaging a Virtual Assistant.

o Example include Zoho CRM and Sugar CRM

 

Now that you have set –up the relationship well, you need to ensure that you are managing your Virtual assistant well each and every week.

 

Manage your Virtual assistant on an ongoing basis. Here are out top 3 tips for ongoing management.

 

1. Set a daily or weekly online meeting – and turn up!

2. Develop a monthly report template for your Virtual Assistant to complete

o This will act as a “cheques and balances” quality control mechanism for the Virtual Assistant role

3. Refine their job description and role as they begin to master the existing tasks

4. This services tow purposes

5. Firstly, it ensures that your Virtual Assistant remains motivated and interested in the role

6. Secondly, it allows you to leverage even more time

 

Make the most of your Virtual Assistant. Be sure to set up the relationship well from the start and remember…they are people, not software.

 

All the best with your offshore outsourcing!

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Welcome to VAnetworking! Since we're all VAs here, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?


Patty Dost

Time Is Of The Es-Cents . . . Saving Your Business Time and Money ~~~ Virtually

 

Interested in Subcontracting with Virtual Assistants? Here's the ebook that will assist you.....The VAs VA

 

QUESTION :: What do VAs do when they've got big plans but don't know where to start?

ANSWER :: They download the VAnetworking Kick Start Package!

It's FREE :: It's FUN :: And you'll get something DONE :: Download yours now.

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I disagree! Your post does not sound positive at all. :huh: Most of us VA's have been doing administrative work for well over 10 years so I am sure that we don't really need to be managed, monitored or repremanded. We work "WITH" our clients not "FOR" them. As for your tips some sound ok, but most of us already have the skill required to manage ourselves. We are motivated else we wouldn't be VA's and we each have our own ways of testing the waters to see if we are a good match for our client and they are a good match for us.


Jerri Goranson, CVEM, Virtual Business Assistant

Virtual Office Visions

jgvov@comcast.net

www.virtualofficevisions.com

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Firstly, you need to remember that many of the normal staffing rules still apply. For example, the basic rules of human motivation still exist in the virtual world. You Virtual Assistant needs to be trained, managed and monitored just as if they were in your office with you. A virtual Assistant is not a piece of software. It is not something that you simply purchase, pay your monthly fee and hope that it all works out. Your Virtual Assistant needs to be praised when they do excellent work, and reprimanded when their work falls below a predetermined standard.

 

Here are our top 5 tips to assist you in the set-up of the business relationship with your Virtual Assistant:

 

1. Create a job description

2. Develop a training manual

o Ideally this manual will contain text, video training files and links to online resources such as a knowledge base

3. Train your Virtual Assistant

o This does not mean conduct a 2 hour lecture. This means;

o Show your Virtual Assistant how to do the allocated tasks

o Watch them do the tasks in front of you (via online meeting)

o Watch your Virtual Assistant complete tasks until they are doing it the way it should be done

4. Develop Key Performance e Indicators to quantify what doing a “good job” actually means

5. Sign up to CRM or work-flow software that automates your Virtual Assistants role. Set up recurring tasks and recurring meetings

o One of the main reasons for utilizing a virtual assistant is to leverage your time. With this in mind, you do not want to be micromanaging a Virtual Assistant.

o Example include Zoho CRM and Sugar CRM

 

Now that you have set –up the relationship well, you need to ensure that you are managing your Virtual assistant well each and every week.

 

Manage your Virtual assistant on an ongoing basis. Here are out top 3 tips for ongoing management.

 

1. Set a daily or weekly online meeting – and turn up!

2. Develop a monthly report template for your Virtual Assistant to complete

o This will act as a “cheques and balances” quality control mechanism for the Virtual Assistant role

3. Refine their job description and role as they begin to master the existing tasks

4. This services tow purposes

5. Firstly, it ensures that your Virtual Assistant remains motivated and interested in the role

6. Secondly, it allows you to leverage even more time

 

Make the most of your Virtual Assistant. Be sure to set up the relationship well from the start and remember…they are people, not software.

 

All the best with your offshore outsourcing!

 

I have to agree with Jerri. What you are describing sounds more like an "employee" than a "Virtual Assistant," at least in the United States. The IRS has rules that determine whether you are considered an employee or an independent contractor.

 

For example--

You state that the "normal staffing rules" apply. Staffing is an employer/employee relationship.

You also stated that "You Virtual Assistant needs to be trained, managed and monitored just as if they were in your office with you." Again, this is an employer/employee relationship.

 

My clients give me tasks to accomplish, without any "training, management or monitoring" from their end. My contract states what the scope of work that I do for them and when I return it to them. It specifically states that it is up to me when and how I do the work without additional instruction from them.

 

Your comment "All the best with your offshore outsourcing!" also leads me to believe that you have a mistaken idea about what a Virtual Assistant is and how they perform their work.

 

You may have some good points regarding communication between Client and Virtual Assistant, I do not believe that you fully understand about the Virtual Assistant industry.

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Firstly, you need to remember that many of the normal staffing rules still apply. For example, the basic rules of human motivation still exist in the virtual world. You Virtual Assistant needs to be trained, managed and monitored just as if they were in your office with you. A virtual Assistant is not a piece of software. It is not something that you simply purchase, pay your monthly fee and hope that it all works out. Your Virtual Assistant needs to be praised when they do excellent work, and reprimanded when their work falls below a predetermined standard.

 

Here are our top 5 tips to assist you in the set-up of the business relationship with your Virtual Assistant:

 

1. Create a job description

2. Develop a training manual

o Ideally this manual will contain text, video training files and links to online resources such as a knowledge base

3. Train your Virtual Assistant

o This does not mean conduct a 2 hour lecture. This means;

o Show your Virtual Assistant how to do the allocated tasks

o Watch them do the tasks in front of you (via online meeting)

o Watch your Virtual Assistant complete tasks until they are doing it the way it should be done

4. Develop Key Performance e Indicators to quantify what doing a "good job" actually means

5. Sign up to CRM or work-flow software that automates your Virtual Assistants role. Set up recurring tasks and recurring meetings

o One of the main reasons for utilizing a virtual assistant is to leverage your time. With this in mind, you do not want to be micromanaging a Virtual Assistant.

o Example include Zoho CRM and Sugar CRM

 

Now that you have set –up the relationship well, you need to ensure that you are managing your Virtual assistant well each and every week.

 

Manage your Virtual assistant on an ongoing basis. Here are out top 3 tips for ongoing management.

 

1. Set a daily or weekly online meeting – and turn up!

2. Develop a monthly report template for your Virtual Assistant to complete

o This will act as a "cheques and balances" quality control mechanism for the Virtual Assistant role

3. Refine their job description and role as they begin to master the existing tasks

4. This services tow purposes

5. Firstly, it ensures that your Virtual Assistant remains motivated and interested in the role

6. Secondly, it allows you to leverage even more time

 

Make the most of your Virtual Assistant. Be sure to set up the relationship well from the start and remember…they are people, not software.

 

All the best with your offshore outsourcing!

 

I have to agree with Jerri. What you are describing sounds more like an "employee" than a "Virtual Assistant," at least in the United States. The IRS has rules that determine whether you are considered an employee or an independent contractor.

 

For example--

You state that the "normal staffing rules" apply. Staffing is an employer/employee relationship.

You also stated that "You Virtual Assistant needs to be trained, managed and monitored just as if they were in your office with you." Again, this is an employer/employee relationship.

 

My clients give me tasks to accomplish, without any "training, management or monitoring" from their end. My contract states what the scope of work that I do for them and when I return it to them. It specifically states that it is up to me when and how I do the work without additional instruction from them.

 

Your comment "All the best with your offshore outsourcing!" also leads me to believe that you have a mistaken idea about what a Virtual Assistant is and how they perform their work.

 

You may have some good points regarding communication between Client and Virtual Assistant, I do not believe that you fully understand about the Virtual Assistant industry.

 

I have to say I also agree. If my clients had to train me, they are no further ahead in their business than when they first hired me. Some of your descriptions are ok but it really sounds a lot like "micro managing"- which my clients do not do nor do they have time for. We are business owners utilizing our skills and knowledge to leverage our client's businesses while improving our own.

 

We all offer special "niche" services and that is our value we bring to the table. If a client really had to train us, why would they hire us when they could hire someone who was already an expert in that field or task? What is it that you do? You seem to speculate on what you think a VA is and that (your description) is not what we are.

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Welcome to our network here for Virtual Assistants.

 

If you are using this copy on your website, I'd probably rework your second paragraph if you are trying to promote your services to North America. I've never had a client reprimand me (harsh word to use). Give constructive criticisms? Sure, but not reprimand me ;)

 

I like the idea of a client having a training manual in place but few clients do nor do they want to spend the money to produce one. System training manuals are excellent to give step by step instructions on how to do a specific project and are often desired by offshore VA companies. Not as common in North America.

 

With VAs I retain, I want them to be able to think and not just do steps as written in a training manual. For example, I want them to be able to create my training manuals for me ;) I want my VA to be a partner with me in my business and contribute to the success of it by offering me ideas, tips and ways to streamline my admin work.

 

I've never had a client want to watch over my work and think I'd quit working for them if they had to micro-manage me to that point LOL!

 

I like the idea of setting up a weekly or monthly meeting with my VA. Daily is too much for me. Communication is the key to success with any VA/Client relationship.


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